View Poll Results: Is it even reasonable to expect consistency in international policy?

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  • Yes, we should be consistent in who we choose as allies.

    2 28.57%
  • Somewhere in between. Please elaborate.

    1 14.29%
  • No, we need to look out for numero uno, and that's us.

    3 42.86%
  • Other.

    1 14.29%
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Thread: Is it even reasonable to expect consistency in international policy?

  1. #1
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    Is it even reasonable to expect consistency in international policy?

    Is it even reasonable to expect consistency in international policy? Should we ally ourselves with countries that operate counter to our ethical standards*? Or, should we overlook some things in consideration of our interests?

    ETA: Example: Aligning ourselves with countries we 'should' disagree with. For example, being Saddam Hussein's buddy in the early 1980s because he was Iran's enemy, who was our enemy. Having Saudi Arabia as our friend with the elephant in the room being how they treat their citizens (especially women), which runs counter to everything we say we believe. Stuff like that.

    *- We are often hypocritical in what we say we stand for and what we actually do ourselves (as a country), but that's another issue for another thread.
    Last edited by radcen; 04-09-13 at 10:23 AM.
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    Re: Is it even reasonable to expect consistency in international policy?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    Is it even reasonable to expect consistency in international policy? Should we ally ourselves with countries that operate counter to our ethical standards*? Or, should we overlook some things in consideration of our interests?

    *- We are often hypocritical in what we say we stand for and what we actually do ourselves (as a country), but that's another issue for another thread.
    Foreign policy is actually one of the most consistent things in American politics, that and entitlement spending, but seriously our foreign policy changed little between Bush and Obama. I'd say it hadn't really changed since Clinton, and many things did remain the same, but 9/11 did change a lot about US foreign policy.

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    Re: Is it even reasonable to expect consistency in international policy?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    Is it even reasonable to expect consistency in international policy? Should we ally ourselves with countries that operate counter to our ethical standards*? Or, should we overlook some things in consideration of our interests?

    *- We are often hypocritical in what we say we stand for and what we actually do ourselves (as a country), but that's another issue for another thread.
    I agree with wiseone. Foreign policy is the one thing that the U.S. as a whole and Congress usually agree on.
    “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
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    Re: Is it even reasonable to expect consistency in international policy?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    Is it even reasonable to expect consistency in international policy? Should we ally ourselves with countries that operate counter to our ethical standards*? Or, should we overlook some things in consideration of our interests?

    *- We are often hypocritical in what we say we stand for and what we actually do ourselves (as a country), but that's another issue for another thread.
    I think to some extent its not a question if it is reasonable but if its sensible. We need to bear in mind that

    [A] Authoritarian and espicially Totalitarian states are inherently unstable, hence why it tends to bite us in the ass when we support and arm them (Sadam, Galtieri, Ghadafi etc.)

    [B] Supporting these states gives us moral culpability for their actions. For example the Shah of Iran or General Pinochet could have done a lot less damage were it not for CIA support in creating Savak and DINA respectivley. In contrast the Marcos dictatorship in the Philliphines fell shortly after Bush I pulled the plug on support from the U.S. This gives us a great deal of power to influence things either possitivley or negatively. Influencing these negativley will mean .

    1. Others countries may prove reluctant to colaborate with us in a crusade to bring freedom and democracy to the world when they have borne the brunt of U.S sponcered authoritarianism (See Pakistan)

    2. If we invade countries to (presumably) bring democracy in the middle of a region where we have traditionally supported authoritarianism then those living in these countries will smell bullshut and attempt to evict us violently. See Iraq
    Last edited by Red_Dave; 04-09-13 at 10:39 AM.

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    Re: Is it even reasonable to expect consistency in international policy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightning View Post
    I agree with wiseone. Foreign policy is the one thing that the U.S. as a whole and Congress usually agree on.
    I disagree--it does not matter. Presidents, diplomats, and other politicians come and go, but there is a professional diplomatic corps of people who spend their whole careers in international relations who slow walk any effort to change anything. Where we throw our money or our bombs really is not the backbone of our foreign policy.

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    Re: Is it even reasonable to expect consistency in international policy?

    it is not only reasonable, it is essential to sound foreign policy

    it must be predictable
    other states must be able to see that we act in the way they anticipate that we will

    it is the aberrant, unpredictable nations that create international chaos. NK being the most recent example
    we are negotiating about dividing a pizza and in the meantime israel is eating it
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    Re: Is it even reasonable to expect consistency in international policy?

    Quote Originally Posted by justabubba View Post
    it is not only reasonable, it is essential to sound foreign policy

    it must be predictable
    other states must be able to see that we act in the way they anticipate that we will

    it is the aberrant, unpredictable nations that create international chaos. NK being the most recent example
    I agree with everything else but I think N.Korea is pretty predictable. It's China's reaction to N.Korean actions that's unpredictable, to a point.
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    Re: Is it even reasonable to expect consistency in international policy?

    If Americans actually wanted consistency in anything, there wouldn't be a socialist Liberal in any office.
    Only a fool measures equality by results and not opportunities.

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    Re: Is it even reasonable to expect consistency in international policy?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    Is it even reasonable to expect consistency in international policy? Should we ally ourselves with countries that operate counter to our ethical standards*? Or, should we overlook some things in consideration of our interests?

    ETA: Example: Aligning ourselves with countries we 'should' disagree with. For example, being Saddam Hussein's buddy in the early 1980s because he was Iran's enemy, who was our enemy. Having Saudi Arabia as our friend with the elephant in the room being how they treat their citizens (especially women), which runs counter to everything we say we believe. Stuff like that.

    *- We are often hypocritical in what we say we stand for and what we actually do ourselves (as a country), but that's another issue for another thread.
    That depends upon how one defines the word "consistency." Just about everyone can be reliably counted upon to "consistently" act in their own best interests. Nation states are really no different.

    I believe that we should at least try to hold ourselves to a certain standard of "Principled Realism," but I am pragmatic enough to realize that there are plenty of conceivable scenarios in which this might not be possible. Alliances of convenience with powers that we would otherwise find to be morally reprehensible are sometimes necessary in order to ensure the greater good.

    Take our alliance with the Soviets during WW2, or our dealings with the Chinese, Israelis, and Saudis today. None of these regimes really stand up to our moral standards. However, this fact doesn't make our dealings with them any less of a strategic necessity.

    It will ultimately be up to historians to decide whether the compromises we have made in the name of solidifying our international position were justified or not. We can only live in the here and now. We do what we have to do and cross (and even burn, if need be) the bridges we come to further down the road as the circumstances of the day require.
    Last edited by Gathomas88; 04-10-13 at 01:47 PM.

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